First Week of Classes at the University

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September 18th 2011
Published: September 18th 2011
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Hello all and my apologies for not regularly updating my blog. I was recently told that if I did not update more often, I would be removed from the Christmas list, so obviously much more effort will be given.

Well since last Sunday, I have done a lot I suppose. Sunday night we shared a nice meal because it was Virginie's last night here. She was a swell young lady who always had a smile on her face and it was fun joking around with her. I wish her the best of luck in the south of France and we'll miss her here.

Monday was the first day of classes at Rennes 2, the French university that I attend. I have classes at 8 am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but on Monday mornings I have a cinema class with an energetic professor who has some great dry humor, so it was easy to enjoy, even at 8 am. He quickly figured out that I had already studied cinema/theater so he had me at the front of the class, acting out scenes in no time. Then I had my language class which was enjoyable, but studying past participles isn't too exciting.

Then it was time for lunch and oh my goodness, I have never been in such a crowded place with so much chaos. The cafeteria here is only open from 11:30 to 1:30, so when we got there at 12:30 it seemed that all 40,000 students were there trying to eat. I grabbed whatever I could and tried to find somewhere to eat. I was not even at a table, so I just ate quickly and got out of there to escape the madness.

Then I took the bus home and went for a run. Then my brothers came home and we played some soccer and watched Inspector Gadget in French, which I was pumped about because I hadn't seen Inspector Gadget in ages, but to them its on every afternoon so they didn't understand my excitement. Then it was homework and dinner and just hanging out/joking around with my family.

Tuesday I didn't have any classes until that night so I had breakfast with my family, but then was home alone. It was a nice morning so I went for a walk around the neighborhood taking pictures. When I got back it was still only 9:30, so I decided to walk to "centre-ville." I live in the suburbs, so this is a little bit of a trek, but I took a lot of awesome pictures of the streets of Rennes, a lot of graffiti and old, pretty houses. Then it started to rain though so I took the bus home and just hung around home for a bit. Then I went for a run and then, since it was my mom's birthday, I Skyped my mom and dad. It was lovely to see them and chat for a bit. The sun came out, so I enjoyed a delightful afternoon reading a book out in the garden. Then I had my pedagogy class, so I bused to the university and got to practice introducing myself to the students I will be teaching soon. Then I got home just in time to say good night to the boys and enjoy dinner with Laurent and Cecile.

Wednesday I had Phonetics at 8 am and I loved it. The speaking lab went better than I thought it would because when it was my turn to say the poem, she only corrected one word. I always worry about my pronunciation and accent, but this class is helping me gain confidence. Then I had a meeting with Daniel, my program director, and found out that I could take a history class in a different level (I need a history class while I'm here to graduate with a French major in the spring), so I was happy that we figured out a solution to my problem, but the class is at the same time as Phonetics, so I was a little bummed to not be able to take Phonetics anymore, but I suppose getting my French major is important too. Then we had lunch right when the cafeteria opened and that was much less chaotic so I enjoyed a lovely lunch with Jillian and Courtney. Then I went home and went for a run, hung out playing board games with Damien and Nathan and then I had another class that night. It's a class about discussing the similarities and differences between the US and France and living and learning in either place. We met in a cafe with Daniel and had an enjoyable and insightful conversation. Then it was home again for some dinner, more discussion and laughter, of course.

Thursday I didn't have any classes so I decided to take a day trip to Saint-Malo. I hopped on a train at 9:30 and was there in an hour. I strolled to the beach and found my way to the fort. The tide was high, so instead of going to the beach right away (because the beach was under water) I walked along the wall. Saint-Malo is completely enclosed/protected by a giant stone wall (pirates were a big problem back in the day), so I traversed the city along its wall. After a bit I found some higher rocks that I could sit down on so I stayed there for a bit enjoying the sound of the waves, the sun and writing in my journal. Hunger drove me back into the city where I found a lovely sandwich shop, so I grabbed a panini and sat in a little park next to the church. Then I took a tour of the church, which was absolutely gorgeous and delightful. Then I grabbed a ''gaufre nutella" which is basically a delicious home-made waffle slabbed with Nutella. It was scrumdiddlyupmtious. Then I roamed around and visited a couple of cute little shops. Then I headed back to the wall and was happy to find that the tide was low and the forts that had been surrounded by water in the morning, now had sandy beach paths to walk along. So I went a visited one of the forts. Then I found a great place among the rocks and sat and read in the sunshine. Then I walked along the beach for a long while and waded in the waters of La Manche for a bit. Then I sat on the beach and read so more and then it was time to walk back to the train station. The train ride was lovely and quick and I realized that I had gotten a bit of a sunburn, but nothing horrible. Then I enjoyed a swell evening with my family and went to bed, tired from my day at the beach.

Friday I had a writing class at 8 am which was difficult to stay awake for and we did an in-class writing, so I wonder how that went because I could barely think to myself in English, let alone write in French. Then I had a break and enjoyed an outside chat with Kat. Then we had lunch early again to avoid the chaos. Then it was oral comprehension class which was fun, but our professor has a slightly weird accent that makes her sound like a Muppet, but she's quite nice so I just go with it. Then I came home and watching Dexter's Laboratory and Naruto with the boys. Then my family left for the weekend to visit grandma. So I went to the grocery store to pick up some food and, of course, some wine to get me through the weekend. I watched some Rugby (it's the Rugby World Cup right now if you didn't know) and made myself a 'steak hache' which is really just a hamburger. Then Abbey came over and we enjoyed some wine and watched Gladiator in French.

Yesterday I 'slept in' until 8:30 and watching French cartoons. Then I made some gnocchi for lunch and then I went to Saint-Martin where the huge flea market was being held. Kat, Erin, Connor and I walked around and I found a couple of random things, but then it started pouring. I've heard it rains a lot here in Bretagne/Rennes, but it had been so nice thus far that I forgot about the possibility of rain. We were totally soaked and trekked it back to the bus. Though we may have been cold and drenched, it was still an experience and a nice afternoon. I came home and bundled up in warm clothes, got under a blanket and watched French movies and drank wine all night. I made myself a pizza (cheese of course) and it was quite yummy.

Today I woke up pretty early and decided to clean. My family is awesome, so since they're away I thought it would be nice to just sweep and mop the floors, which I'm a pro at after working at Papa Murphy's. So that was actually sort of enjoyable. Then I cleaned my room and now I'm relaxing and watching France play Canada in the Rugby World Cup which is probably the closest I'll get to watching NFL Sundays back in the states.

So there you have it. This was a bit long, so I'll try to write more often and shorter blogs. Nothing too exciting, but overall a very nice and not super stressful first week at the university.

Hope all is well with everyone and sending you my love from France.


20th September 2011

from Des
Des says your back on the Christmas list if you continue to update your blog. He wants you to do some exploring for him. Find out the history of the town you're in, relating to WWII. Check out the museums, take some photos. He says make use of your time in France (which of course means military history). Miss you!

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